Marijuana arrests rise for 3rd year in row
The total number of persons arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws rose for the third consecutive year, according to data released by the FBI.
According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, police made 663,367 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2018. That is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrested for the commission of violent crimes (521,103). Of those arrested for cannabis-related activities, some 90 percent (608,776) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses only.
“Police across America make a marijuana-related arrest every 48 seconds,” NORML Executive Director Erik Altieri said. “At a time when the overwhelming majority of Americans want cannabis to be legal and regulated, it is an outrage that many police departments across the country continue to waste tax dollars and limited law enforcement resources on arresting otherwise law-abiding citizens for simple marijuana possession.”
The year-over-year increase in marijuana arrests comes at the same time that several states, including California, have legalized the adult use of cannabis — leading to a significant decline in marijuana-related arrests in those jurisdictions. It also marks the reversal of a trend of declining arrests that began following the year 2007, when police made a record 872,721 total marijuana-related arrests in the United States.
Marijuana-related arrests were least likely to occur in western states — most of which have legalized the substance — and were more prevalent in the northeast, where they constituted 53 percent of all drug arrests.
California voters say legalizing pot ‘a good thing’
BERKELEY, Calif. — Nearly seven out of 10 registered voters in California believe that the passage of Proposition 64, which legalized the adult use and retail sale of cannabis, was a “good thing,” according to polling data compiled by the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies.
Sixty-eight percent of respondents endorsed the law, while only 30 percent said that it was a “bad thing.” Those respondents between the ages of 30 and 39 (81 percent), between the ages of 18 and 29 (79 percent), and self-identified Democrats (78 percent) expressed the greatest degree of support for the law. By contrast, 50 percent of Republicans defined the law as a “bad thing.”
Proposition 64 was passed by voters in 2016 by a vote of 56 percent to 44 percent.
Sixty-three percent of respondents also said that they favored allowing retail marijuana stores to operate in their community. That result is largely in contrast with local laws, as the majority of California’s cities and counties prohibit commercial marijuana activities.
Pollsters surveyed over 4,500 registered voters. The poll possesses a margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.
Unregulated THC vapor cartridges often contain dangerous additives
LOS ANGELES — Unregulated THC vapor cartridges often contain vitamin E oil, according to a recent investigation by NBC News.
The inhalation of vitamin E oil, which is sometimes added to unregulated e-liquid products in an effort to thicken their consistency and to mask dilution, has previously been linked with incidences of lipoid pneumonia. An advisory issued last month by New York State health officials identified “very high levels of vitamin E acetate in nearly all cannabis-containing [vapor cartridge] samples analyzed.”
The NBC News investigation reported that 87 percent of the unregulated THC cartridges they analyzed tested positive for the presence of vitamin E oil. Many of the products also tested positive for the presence of pesticides. By contrast, “Of the three purchased from legal dispensaries in California, the CannaSafe testing company found no heavy metals, pesticides or residual solvents like vitamin E.”
Updated data released last week by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported more than 800 cases of acute respiratory distress linked to the use of portable vapor cartridges used to consume e-liquids. Of the products tested thus far by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, about half have identified the presence of vitamin E acetate. Most of the products linked to lung illnesses have been traced to the unregulated, “informal” market, the agency reported.
These findings reaffirm the variance in the safety and the quality of cannabis-related products available on the unregulated market versus those on the state-regulated retail market, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Consumers must also be aware that not all products are created equal; quality control testing is critical and only exists in the legally regulated marketplace.”
In recent days, lawmakers in Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington have moved to impose bans on the sale of flavored vaping and/or e-cigarette products, while the Governor of Massachusetts has enacted a temporary ban on the retail sale of all vaping products, including the sale of state-regulated products at licensed cannabis dispensaries. Oregon’s Governor is considering implementing a similar emergency ban.
Cannabis Culture news in the Blade is provided in partnership with NORML. For more information, visit norml.org.